MEDFORD, Ore.– *UPDATE*– The May election is three weeks away and one of the biggest seats in the state is up for grabs after U.S. Representative Greg Walden announced last fall he will not be pursuing another term.
With Walden stepping away from politics at the end of this year, Oregon’s lone Republican-held seat in congress is up for grabs and Democrats are looking to claim the seat. But this election season poses new challenges.
“It has definitely been an interesting transition,” said Democratic candidate Alex Spenser.
Five candidates are on the ballot for the Democrats but four have consistently shown up to online forums. Small business owners John Holm and Nik Heuertz, writer and former campaign strategist Alex Spenser and sales representative Chris Vaughn.
Both Heuertz and Spenser said it’s difficult to connect with voters but with virtual town halls, they’re reaching more people in a day with less traveling.
“It’s unfortunate we can’t see people in person cause you do lose some personal contact there,” said Heuertz. “You can’t shake their hands and look directly in their eye.”
Both candidates agreed it’s a different ball game.
“The nice thing about is we’re all kind of in the same boat,” said Spenser.
Spenser says it’s a difficult time for many so she’s stopped cold-calling people. Instead, she’s using virtual town halls. Heuertz is doing similar things and focusing on small group gatherings through mediums like zoom.
“I’ve posted both on my personal page and my candidate page,” said Heuertz. “I find people are more willing to interact on a personal page.”
Still, with three weeks till the May election, there’s more work that needs to be done. They’ll just be hitting the virtual trail instead.
NBC5 News reached out to Holm and Vaughn. We received a statement from Holm with similar views as the other candidates about this campaign season.
I am John Holm, so we are currently on johnholmforcongress.com and Facebook as John Holm for Congress which would be normal but having to use more you-tube as well as Facebook for videos as been challenging. Luckily counties have been more accommodating with video forums as well as meet the Candidates Zoom meetings as well as some outer group (Indivisible as one) invites to talk about our political views and possible future bills we could try to get to pass. With the just a short time before the ballots will be coming out we will need to be as visible as possible in this new video age of politics.
We received a statement from Vaughn after first airing this story. His is included below:
It’s been difficult since everything about a campaign no longer applies during this COVID -19 Crisis. But I have been trying to connect through Zoom and other social media. I have participted in several forums on Zoom or Streamyard that have been live on Facebook or Youtube. I have an upcoming forum sponsored by EO Media that will be live on Facebook on May 1st with 3 of the other Democratic candidates.
If you missed our story on Monday about the Republicans running for this race, you can find it right here.
The deadline to register to vote in the presidential primary election is the end of the day Tuesday, April 28. It’s also the last day for people to change their party affiliation. You can do all of that at oregonvotes.org.
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